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Uzbekistan Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Uzbekistan is in Central Asia and is bordered by Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan is divided into twelve regions and the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. Tashkent is the capital city.

The terrain of Uzbekistan is mainly flat with some mountainous territory. Rivers include the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya.

The climate of Uzbekistan is desert continental with hot dry summers and mild winters.

Environment
Uzbekistan is a mixture of steppe, desert, oasis and river valley. Mountain ranges border Uzbekistan from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The largest lake is the Aral Sea, shared with Kazakhstan.

The Aral Sea, once the world's fourth largest body of inland water, has dramatically shrunk since the former USSR diverted the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, rivers that fed the Sea.

The State Committee for Nature Protection of Uzbekistan is responsible for environmental protection. The Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biosphere Project aims to link wildlife conservation with rural development.

Wildlife in Uzbekistan includes the brown bear, deer, lynx, wild boar and the endangered snow leopard.

Architecture
Cities of Uzbekistan were important points on the Silk Road, the trade route from Europe to China. Samarkand (Marakanda), Bukhara, Itchan Kala (Khiva) and Shakhrisyabz were also centres of Islamic architecture. Today all of these places of historic importance are designated as World Heritage sites.

The appearance of the ancient city of Tashkent is quite modern since much of the city had to be rebuilt following the 1966 earthquake. Modern architectural design takes into account the need for buildings to withstand seismic activity.

Population
The population of Uzbekistan was estimated at 27,606,000 in 2009.

Languages
Uzbek is the official language. Russian and Tajik are spoken by some of the population.

Religion
Eighty-eight percent of the people are Muslim and nine percent are Eastern Orthodox.

Food
Traditional food in Uzbekistan includes bread, rice, stews and thick soups, sometimes served with noodles or dumplings. Other popular dishes are meat pastries and shashlik (mutton or liver cooked on skewers).

Meat dishes are usually prepared using lamb or mutton with garlic, spices and vegetables: aubergines, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins and tomatoes.

Pilav, both savoury and sweet, is a favourite in Uzbekistan. The savoury variety consists of rice, meat, vegetables and spices; the sweet recipe usually contains dried fruit such as apricots and raisins.

Apples, cherries, dates, grapes, melons, pomegranates and nuts are plentiful. Fried nuts and sweets, such as halva, are often served.

Tea, both green and black, is usually served without milk or sugar. Wine and vodka are also available.

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